Pecan Capers (Sequel)

When we last saw our heroine, she was more determined than ever to win the “nut” wars. (Some would say she already has.) Our story resumes on Saturday last* …

I heard the noises again during the night. That blasted squirrel is really asking for it. (What – I don’t know, but I’ll think of something.) First order of business Saturday is to resume harvesting pecans using the ladders to go as high and reach as far as possible. I also intend to start cutting back some of the branches that are touching my roof and that of my neighbors’ house. 

Instead of pruning back the good-size branches all at once (which will involve a saw and two good arms**), I decide that I’ll first just cut off each tendril that has already yielded its fruit. This will systematically expose where the final cuts should be after the harvest is spent (and put off for now the need for tools more dangerous than ladders and loppers).

Work is progressing well. Every time I get about 10 or 12 pecans in the pie pan, I hit the limit of my reach and have to move the ladder. And every time, I move the ladder without first removing the pan from its perch, so I get to “pick” the pecans a second time off the ground. I finally get smart and bring out a brown paper bag to offload pecans from the pie pan (preferably before moving the ladder). Sometimes I remember to.

I’m trying not to share the pecans hanging over my neighbors’ property, but inevitably some of them fall in their yard. Oh well. Hopefully, they will find them before the squirrels do.

Pecans can be sneaky. And they’re in cahoots with the sun. You can be looking straight at them, but you’re blinded by the sun. Hence ensues much ladder-moving forth and back to where I could swear I’d already gotten them all. 

You have to look from all angles to catch them hiding. In their still-green husks, the pecans are nicely camouflaged in the leaves. They’re even a similar shape! But when you find a bunch of pecans with your head, you know the difference. D’oyng.

Once when I go back toward the front yard to take a break, I notice whole pecans on the ground too far away to have bounced from the tree. I’m guessing that the squirrel thinks he’s “hidden” them in the tall grass. Who’s laughing now? Thanks for the freebies!

After a couple of hours of moving the ladders all the way around the tree, as well as against the house, to pluck every possible pecan within reach that looks remotely ready or that yields to my probing fingers, there is only one thing left to do. I climb into the tree itself. Now, now. No gasping in horror! We have already established that I’m crazy many stories ago. This move should not surprise anyone, except me.

Is it possible that this tree I planted myself when it was only a twig and that used to snap under the weight of the neighbors’ cat can now support my pre-WeightWatchers weight? Are there sufficient footholds for me to gain enough height to reach the otherwise unreachable? Am I really going to do this? You guessed it.

Carefully, I hoist a leg into a crook between branches. The next foothold is a foot or so higher. And I’m in the tree, recalling childhood days. But I need to go higher to achieve my real goal. I can see one more possible foothold, but it means sort of balancing there on just the one leg with my butt “anchored” against the limb. I go for it. And I am rewarded. 

I’m able to reach those pecans that previously offered only a dare. Another battle won in the nut wars! But from this vantage point, I am saddened to see the irony that I couldn’t grasp from the ground. One of the tallest branches had folded in two from the weight of the plentiful pecans and no doubt, at the urging of a stiff breeze. I don’t know if the branch can be saved. But as tall as it was, it’s as if the branch knew that I had no chance of reaching its offering unless it bent down to me. (Hm, is there a metaphor there somewhere?) 

I continue to harvest from this new find. The stiff breeze returns and I feel the tree (and my stomach) swaying. 

There are still so many pecans all over the tree that are not ready to be disturbed. It’s tempting to try to beat the squirrels to the bounty by picking the pecans prematurely. But I decide to save the rest for the next episode …

* I wrote this on October 16, 2007. “Saturday last” would have been October 13. With the drought of 2011, this pecan story would be pure fabrication if I wrote it now. Otherwise, it is completely factual. 😉

** My left arm had been seriously injured (four-part fracture) earlier that year in May.

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    • Ann Smith
    • December 19th, 2011

    Well, I was going to ask if we’re to be invited for pecan pie, but since this is written in 2007, I guess the asnwer is no. Is that the year you broke your hip?

      • Paula Robertson
      • December 20th, 2011

      Sorry Ann, no pecans this year. To answer your question, Yes and No. December 1, 2007 was when I broke my pelvis, and so the third installment in this story never got written. Actually, it was written alright – just wasn’t the ending I had in mind.

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